A dark, ultra-contemporary, and relentlessly paced debut thriller about a London society woman trying to put her secret criminal past behind her, and the hit man who comes to her with an impossible job she can't refuse.
Charlotte Alton is an elegant socialite. But behind the locked doors of her sleek, high-security apartment in London's Docklands, she becomes Karla. Karla's business is information. Specifically, making it disappear. She's the unseen figure who, for a commanding price, will cover a criminal's tracks. A perfectionist, she's only made one slip in her career—several years ago she revealed her face to a man named Simon Johanssen, an ex-special forces sniper turned killer-for-hire. After a mob hit went horrifically wrong, Johanssen needed to disappear, and Karla helped him. He became a regular client, and then, one day, she stepped out of the shadows for reasons unclear to even herself. Now, after a long absence, Johanssen has resurfaced with a job, and he needs Karla's help again. The job is to take out an inmate—a woman—inside an experimental prison colony. But there's no record the target ever existed. That's not the only problem: the criminal boss from whom Johanssen has been hiding is incarcerated there. That doesn't stop him. It's Karla's job to get him out alive, and to do that she must uncover the truth. Who is this woman? Who wants her dead? Is the job a trap for Johanssen or for her? But every door she opens is a false one, and she's getting desperate to protect a man—a killer—to whom she's inexplicably drawn. Written in stylish, sophisticated prose, The Distance is a tense and satisfying debut in which every character, both criminal and law-abiding, wears two faces, and everyone is playing a double game.
In British author Giltrow's riveting debut, the rich, sophisticated Charlotte Alton is the alter ego of Karla, who operates a high-tech information network. Eight years earlier, Karla established a new identity for Simon Johanssen, a hit man fleeing gangster John Quillan. Now Johanssen wants her help infiltrating the Program, a prisoner-run society in a heavily guarded London neighborhood, to kill inmate Catherine Gallagher. Because Quillan is the most powerful man in the Program, Karla has misgivings about sending Johanssen inside, but reluctantly agrees. She also looks into Catherine's background but finds no record of a crime, conviction, sentencing, or incarceration only a year-old missing person report. Meanwhile, Catherine saves Johanssen from Quillan's sadistic sidekick, and he begins to reconsider the hit. While Johanssen isn't entirely convincing as a professional killer, the attraction between him and Karla, as well as other unexpected connections between damaged characters, add depth to an already satisfying read.